The numbers are eye-opening: Termites have inhabited the Earth for more than 250 million years. There are about 45 different species of termites in North America. Each year more than 600,000 U.S. homes are damaged by termites.
Although a great deal of attention is given to identifying and treating termite infestations, there is often less emphasis on thwarting their entry into a dwelling in the first place. Fortunately, there are ways to keep termites at bay. According to the National Pest Management Association, doing these 10 things can help prevent termites from entering and wreaking havoc on your home.
- Seal cracks and holes on the outside of your home, including entry points for utilities and pipes.
- Keep basements, attics and crawl spaces well ventilated and dry.
- Repair leaking faucets, water pipes and A/C units that are on the outside of your home.
- Repair or replace rotted fascia, soffits and roof shingles.
- Replace weather stripping and repair loose mortar around the basement foundation and windows.
- Store firewood at least 20 feet away from the house and 5 inches off the ground.
- Routinely inspect the foundation of your home for signs of mud tubes (used by termites to reach a food source), cracked or bubbling paint, and wood that sounds hollow when tapped.
- Direct water away from your house through properly functioning downspouts, gutters and splash blocks.
- Keep mulch at least 15 inches from the foundation.
- Monitor all exterior areas of wood, including windows, doorframes and skirting boards for any noticeable changes.
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